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BBC Sport's John Murray
"England were second best"
 real 14k

England's Sven Goran Eriksson
"Everytime you lose you have to learn something"
 real 56k

Holland's Ruud van Nistelrooy
"We were the dominant side in the first half"
 real 56k

England's David Beckham
"It's a learning experience for us all"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 21:07 GMT 22:07 UK
Holland outclass England
Ruud van Nistelrooy celebrates Holland's second
Ruud van Nistelrooy celebrates Holland's second
England 0-2 Holland

England coach Sven Goran Eriksson's brave new world suffered its first setback at the hands of masterly Holland at White Hart Lane.

Louis Van Gaal's Dutch masters wrecked Eriksson's perfect record of five wins out of five with a performance of pedigree and passing of the highest calibre.

Eriksson conducted a complete revamp of his early line-ups to give members of the England undercard an opportunity ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifier in Germany on 1 September.

And it was a brutal lesson in the harsh reality of international football for inexperienced youngsters like debutant Owen Hargreaves as England were outclassed in the opening 45 minutes.

England held on unconvincingly until the Dutch struck twice inside a minute shortly before half-time, courtesy of a long-range thunderbolt from Mark van Bommel and a poacher's goal from Manchester United's 19m new boy Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Beckham under challenge
Beckham under challenge
Eriksson will not be too distressed despite the defeat, knowing he will field a virtually unrecognisable line-up for the World Cup showdown in Munich.

It was, in some respects, a timely reminder of the steep learning curve England must still climb to move back into world football's elite group.

Holland, in contrast, confirmed that reports of their demise have been hugely exaggerated and they will pose a massive threat to the Republic of Ireland in their important qualifier next month.

Eriksson's England were given the severest test of the Swede's reign so far in a first half that had the Dutch trademark passing style stamped all over it.

England's experimental line-up had little time to settle as the were outflanked - literally at times by the brilliant wide pair of Boudewijn Zenden and Marc Overmars - and outmanouevred.

Scholes beats Overmars
Scholes beats Overmars
The Dutch posted the warning signs as early the eighth minute when Van Nistelrooy escaped a disjointed England offside trap and forced a fine save from Nigel Martyn.

England finally got themselves into the game midway through the first half - but it was simply the cue for a period of Dutch devastation that brought two goals.

Eriksson's side showed signs of shaking Van Gaal's side out of their imperious stride when Andy Cole brought a desperate save from Edwin van der Sar with his feet after 33 minutes..

Fulham's new import from Juventus was in action again seconds later, brilliantly palming Gary Neville's drive over the bar as it looked bound for the top corner.

Holland had hinted at their superiority, and confirmed it with a lethal double strike inside a minute.

Van Bommel was first on target after 38 minutes, picking up a harmless looking pass and taking advantage of England's invitation to shoot by sending a rising 35-yard drive past a stunned Martyn.

It was a stunning counter-punch - and England were on the canvas when Van Nistelrooy doubled the Dutch advantage seconds later.

Brown challenges Kluivert
Brown challenges Kluivert
Martyn could only palm out Zenden's long range drive, and the marksman Manchester United hope will help bring another title to Old Trafford this season was on hand to score from the rebound.

The striker's United team-mate Jaap Stam then headed narrowly off target, before Van Nistelrooy produced a piece of skill that even had the disappointed England fans applauding.

He delivered a brilliant chip which left Martyn stranded, but as he turned to celebrate the ball bounced to safety of the bar.

The game took on an unreal atmosphere after the break when a total of 13 substitutes - including eight England replacements - were sent on.

Chelsea's 7.5m new boy Zenden will have provided a worry for watching coach Claudio Ranieri by sitting on the sidelines with an ice pack on his ankle after a tackle from Jamie Carragher.

And two were involved within seconds when West Ham new boy David James made a brilliant one-handed stop from Chelsea's Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Van Bommel in possession
Van Bommel in possession
The save came at some cost as James suffered a knee injury in a collision with Martin Keown as he attempted to cover Hasselbaink.

The England duo were both substituted - with Arsenal's 6m signing Richard Wright and Middlesbrough's Ugo Ehiogu coming on.

It meant the second period was little more than a training exercise with both coaches trying out new faces and the game occasionally being reduced to walking pace.

England were able to limit the damage that Holland threatened to inflict on them in that blistering first half.

Michael Owen had England's best chance of the game in injury time - but Liverpool's in-form striker blazed wildly over the bar.

And while Eriksson will be disappointed to have tasted defeat for the first time, it is unlikely the coach will believe it will have a significant effect on his World Cup planning.

England: Martyn, Gary Neville, Keown, Brown, Ashley Cole, Beckham, Scholes, Carragher, Hargreaves, Andy Cole, Fowler. Subs: Powell, James, Mills, Southgate, Ehiogu, Carrick, Lampard, Barmby, Owen, Smith, Wright.

Holland: Van der Sar, Reiziger, Stam, Hofland, van Bronckhorst, Zenden, Van Bommel, Cocu, van Nistelrooy, Kluivert, Overmars. Subs: Kamphuis, Melchiot, Landzaat, Makaay, Waterreus, van Hooijdonk, Davids, Hasselbaink.

Referee: Anders Frisk (Sweden)

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See also:

15 Aug 01 |  Football
Croatia grab Dublin draw
10 Aug 01 |  Football
The Dutch masters
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